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August 31, 2005

Sheep, goat roundup draws 150


About 150 North Carolina goat and sheep producers, many of them new to the industry, participated recently in the two-day North Carolina Goat and Sheep Producers Roundup. The roundup, sponsored by North Carolina Cooperative Extension, was held at the Wake Commons Conference Center and Oakview Farm in Raleigh. The event, the first of its kind, will be repeated in two years, according to organizer Martha Mobley, agricultural agent from Franklin County. The roundup included workshops on a variety of topics, including hoof trimming, disease and parasite management, predator control and marketing. Goat production has increased greatly in recent years as immigrants to the state bring an appetite for the meat. From 2000 to 2004, the number of goats sold for meat in North Carolina increased from 180,000 to 232,000, according to N.C. State meat goat specialist Jean-Marie Luginbuhl. (Photo by Becky Kirkland)

Posted by Natalie at 10:02 AM

August 30, 2005

Extension is partner in 'Move More' standards

Photo of Jon Ort
Dr. Jon Ort of Cooperative Extension speaks at the announcement of the 'Move More'standards for physical activity. (Photo by Daniel Kim)

North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service and two partner organizations announced new standards last week to get the state’s K-12 students out of their desks and moving more in schools.

Cooperative Extension, the Division of Public Health and the N.C. Department of Public Instruction announced the new “Move More: North Carolina’s Recommended Standards for Physical Activity in School” on Aug. 26 at Carroll Middle School in Raleigh. These standards follow last year’s standards regarding all foods sold in schools.

“Serving as a partner in this ‘Move More’ initiative for public schools is a natural fit for us,” said Dr. Jon Ort, Cooperative Extension Service director. “We all realize that to truly have a healthy lifestyle, we must ‘eat smarter’ and ‘move more,’ the focus of these two initiatives.”

The physical activity standards relate to teacher qualifications, class size, school time spent in physical activity, equipment and facilities. Based on these criteria, schools can rate their programs from “needs improvement” to “minimum standard” to “superior standard.” The standards also call on school personnel and students’ families to model healthy lifestyles for students.

Ort described how Cooperative Extension’s long history in nutrition education and its commitment to improving the lives of young people made the “Move More” initiative a natural fit. Extension’s involvement in the “Move More” standards includes the expertise of professionals like Dr. Carolyn Dunn, N.C. State nutrition specialist, and Dr. Carol Mitchell, Cooperative Extension in Wake County, who helped develop the standards.

Throughout the state, a number of Extension professionals serve on their local School Health Advisory Councils – or SHACS – to help implement the school food and physical activity standards in their communities, he said.

Ort also described how the Pamlico County schools and Cooperative Extension had partnered to pay the salary of Sherry Howlett, program assistant, who teaches nutrition and activity lessons to the school system’s 1,700 students. School officials report that, as a result of the program, students perform better in school and make healthier choices in the cafeteria.

More than 30 percent North Carolina’s children struggle with overweight or are at-risk for being overweight, according State Health Director Dr. Leah Devlin who hosted the “Move More” standards announcement. Increasingly, children are diagnosed with type-2 diabetes, a disease normally associated with middle age. The costs of obesity and overweight to North Carolina exceed $2 billion.

Delvin said the “Move More” program is not about rating schools with “A’s and F’s. This is about moving everyone forward.”

Howard Lee, chairman of the State Board of Education, related his personal experience with diabetes and the discipline it requires to exercise and eat well. Visiting schools across the state, he says, he sees a number of students who are overweight.

“Youngsters who put on a lot of weight are toying with getting diabetes, and it is a dangerous and chronic disease,” he said.

That is why the State Board of Education has passed a requirement that students must spend 30 minutes a day in physical activity, Lee said. The rule will go into effect for the 2006-07 school year.

“The password of the day must be ‘activity,’” he said. “Unfortunately, the password seems to be ‘passivity:’ television, computers, video games, cars and fast food.”

More information on the "Move More" standards can be found on the Web at http://www.eatsmartmovemorenc.com/.

--Natalie Hampton

Posted by Natalie at 03:50 PM

Extension professionals receive honors

Photo of James Parsons, Steve Troxler
James Parsons, left, receives a “Got to be NC Agriculture” truck from state Agricultural Commissioner Steve Troxler at the N.C. Poultry Federation's annual meeting.

A number of Cooperative Extension employees have recently received state and national honors.

James Parsons, area specialized poultry agent for North Carolina Cooperative Extension, received the North Carolina Poultry Federation’s 2005 Distinguished Service Award during the Poultry Federation’s 38th Annual Meeting held in Greensboro.

Parsons was recognized and honored for his dedicated service to North Carolina’s poultry industry and for his work with poultry integrators and producers in the counties he serves -- Duplin, Sampson, Wayne and Onslow. These counties are among the largest poultry-producing counties in North Carolina, with a gross farm income from poultry exceeding $500 million.

Throughout his career, Parsons has been active in working with integrators and growers in the areas of water quality and waste management, and he is also active in keeping integrators and growers informed about current and changing environmental regulations.

National Award Winners
Sue Counts, Watauga County Extension director, received the Distinguished Service Award from the National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences.

National Association of County Agricultural Agents Distinguished Service Award winners from North Carolina are Craig Adkins, Caldwell County; Ray Harris, Carteret County; William Little, Wilson County; Richard Rhodes, Bertie County; and David Morrison, Scotland County. National Communication Award winners are Linda Blue, Bumcombe County, in the categories of video and publication; and Karen Neill, Guilford County, in the home page category

Posted by Natalie at 10:07 AM

August 29, 2005

Prawns offer new market for Johnston partners

Photo of partners at prawn pond
Gene Wiseman, center, examines water samples from a prawn pond. With him are partner Doug Barbee, left, and Mike Frinsko. (Photos by Becky Kirkland)

In Johnston County, the partners of DJ&W Shrimp Farm have transitioned from growing tobacco to growing giant Malaysian prawns, with help from Cooperative Extension agent Mike Frinsko.

On a Johnston County farm where tobacco has grown for 30 years, there was no tobacco crop this year. Instead, the owners – father-and-son team Doug and Johnny Barbee and their partner Gene Wiseman – turned their full attention to a new enterprise: freshwater prawns.

The giant Malaysian prawns or large shrimp are grown out in freshwater ponds on land that once supported tobacco, the state’s cash crop. When the prawns are full grown in the fall, the ponds are drained and the prawns harvested.

It took a great deal of entrepreneurial spirit to bring the business to life, as well as expertise provided by Mike Frinsko, area specialized aquaculture agent with North Carolina Cooperative Extension. Based in Trenton, Frinsko provides technical assistance to aquaculture businesses throughout southeastern North Carolina.

Wiseman first got interested in raising prawns when his wife called him one day to see a news story about an Illinois grower raising the giant prawns miles from the ocean and netting about $8 a pound.

Wiseman’s curiosity led him to his rural neighbors, the Barbees, who had considered aquaculture in the past, and still had an interest in it. The partners began their research, talking with various experts from across the country, visiting a Mississippi producer raising prawns and, of course, tasting the product for themselves.

Then, nearly three years ago, Wiseman contacted Frinsko for his technical assistance and training. With Frinsko’s help, DJ&W Shrimp Farm built its first commercial production pond and began what is now their diversification into aquaculture. The Barbees are responsible for the day-to-day management and operation of the farm, while Wiseman is involved in marketing the product.

Photo of prawn
This juvenile prawn will grow to be eight- to 10-inches long at harvest.

Initially, the partners bought juvenile prawns from a Mississippi supplier, stocked them in the ponds and then grew them to market size. For the past two years, they successfully harvested mature prawns after a 112-day summer growing season, but this year they hope to extend the season to 140 days, producing many prawns in the eight-to-10-per-pound size.

The operation now boasts three 2-acre, ponds, following critical specifications from Frinsko, adapted from extension colleagues at Mississippi State University. And this year for the first time, the farm is raising its own juvenile shrimp in 12-foot diameter tanks located in a former tobacco greenhouse.

“We are excited and very enthusiastic about the accomplishments here,” Frinsko said. “This is an opportunity for diversification, but it’s not a silver bullet for everyone. Depending on a farmer’s land, water resources and temperament, it may or may not be a good fit. That’s not to mention the effort needed for market development.”

Johnny Barbee says the time he once spent in tobacco fields is now devoted to the prawns, and he has learned much about raising the crustaceans. For example, at the beginning of the production season, the ponds have to be limed and fertilized. Liming ensures that the water acidity stays in balance, while fertilizing with cotton seed meal produces small, but nutritious, natural planktonic foods, essential for the prawns’ early growth.

The nursery, located in the former tobacco greenhouse, has provided another set of challenges. The post-larval prawns arrive weighing about .009 grams each. Johnny and Doug Barbee watched over the 150,000 juvenile prawns from April to May, ensuring their development to the .3 gram juvenile size, ready for stocking in the ponds

Photo of Johnny Barbee testing water
Johnny Barbee says that water chemistry is key to success with prawns.

As the summer progresses, daily monitoring of oxygen becomes critical, as well managing the algae blooms. Algal blooms produce oxygen during the day through photosynthesis, but may outstrip the nighttime supply if they are overabundant. Johnny has learned to keep all this in balance, ensuring a healthy environment for his crop. In August, for example, he runs aerators more often to keep the water mixed, eliminating low oxygen zones near the pond bottom where the prawns live.

During harvest, the ponds are drained and the food-sized prawns follow the water outflow where they are essentially self-harvested and collected in a concrete harvest tank adjacent to the pond. They are netted live and quickly removed for sale and processing on the farm.

“Gene Wiseman, who markets the prawns, is very entrepreneurial. He is creative and has a bold vision for DJ&W based on his past successes in marketing and business,” Frinsko said. When the prawns are harvested, many are sold – both live and on ice -- directly to waiting fans. The remaining prawns are frozen for market and sold later during the fall. Last year’s production was sold out by Thanksgiving.

Wiseman has brought samples for several years to “Aqua Days” at the State Farmers Market in Raleigh. There he found Asian clients who were familiar with the product and anxious for a chance to purchase them live. Their enthusiasm has been so great, that on the first harvest day last year, a group arrived at the farm to purchase prawns and take them home in tanks.

The market for prawns is somewhat different than that for saltwater shrimp, which are often smaller, says Wiseman, who is also on the board of directors for the National Freshwater Shrimp Growers Association. He describes the prawns as being more appropriate for the “white tablecloth market.” Several restaurant chefs have told Wiseman they are impressed with the prawns’ flavor, even after freezing.

“With Extension’s help, DW&J Shrimp’s attention to detail has paid off,” Frinsko said. “The partners have continued to innovate, being open minded and unafraid to ask questions which, in turn improves their operation. By adding the nursery system this year, they have set themselves up as a potential area provider of juvenile prawns for other interested producers.

“This is a classic example of the extension mission at work – bringing research-based knowledge to the public,” he said.

The partners plan to expand next year, adding six to eight more ponds in the former tobacco fields, as well as other attractions to draw tourists to the farm. Earlier in the summer, a busload of Baptist stopped in to tour the operation.

Wiseman and the Barbees hope this will be the year they turn a profit when the prawns are harvested. For information on the operation, visit the operation’s Web site: http://summitstudios.com/djw/index.htm .

Posted by Natalie at 08:36 AM

Latino initiative is focus of training

The Latino Initiative, a three-day training program with Cooperative Extension and the Center for International Understanding, will be offered in Raleigh Sept. 19-21. This program, offered to 60 Extension employees, will provide advanced training in working with the Latino population and a fresh approach to immigrant integration.

North Carolina has the fastest growing Latino population of any state, and most of the state’s newest residents are from Mexico. The Latino Initiative provides Extension employees with resources and information to create practical solutions for successfully incorporating immigrants into their communities. A CRD grant has been secured to pay for lodging and some meals. The training is open to agents, program assistants and associates, as well as Extension specialists.

Information about the training is available through Extension’s Learning Management System on the Web, http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/xlms/. Questions may be directed to Craven Hudson at craven_hudson@ncsu.edu.

Posted by Natalie at 08:30 AM

August 26, 2005

Battle for burley

Photo of Smith and Boyette with burley
David Smith, left, and Mike Boyette stand before a rack of burley tobacco. The two believe burley tobacco can be grown in Eastern North Carolina (Dave Caldwell photo)

As flue-cured tobacco growers absorbed repeated quota cuts in recent years and tobacco acreage plummeted, agricultural researchers, North Carolina Cooperative Extension specialists and agents and growers looked for alternatives to tobacco, crops that would be just as lucrative on relatively small acreages.

Well, it appears they may have found one. It’s tobacco, burley tobacco, that is.

Up until this year, burley was grown primarily in Western North Carolina, Kentucky and Tennessee. Unlike flue-cured tobacco, which is cured in heated barns, burley is air-cured, hung in unheated barns and allowed to cure over a period of weeks rather than days.

With the tobacco buyout and the disappearance of quotas and price supports, the price of both flue-cured and burley tobacco is expected to drop. Most growers appear to feel that if they’re going to continue to grow tobacco, they’re going to have to grow more.

Yet for many burley growers, getting bigger isn’t an option, says Dr. David Smith, Philip Morris Professor of Crop Science in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at North Carolina State University. Burley is typically grown on very small acreages, often less than an acre. Many burley growers apparently have decided to take their buyout money and stop growing tobacco. This has left tobacco companies scrambling to find the burley they need. Smith says a typical cigarette blend is 35 percent each burley and flue-cured tobacco and the rest Oriental tobacco.

As it has become apparent that a market for burley may be available, farmers in different parts of the country are moving to try to fill that void. Smith says farmers in places like Mississippi, Illinois, Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania are growing burley this year.

And with a $264,800 grant from Golden LEAF, one of the agencies set up to fund economic development as tobacco production declined, Smith is part of an effort to help growers in Piedmont and Eastern North Carolina grab as much of the burley market as possible.

Burley and flue-cured tobacco are distinctly different crops, Smith points out, particularly when it comes to curing.

“Curing (burley) is a slow process,” says Smith. “You want it to cure slowly, to go from green to yellow to brown. If the temperature or humidity is too high, it rots. If it’s too dry, it doesn’t turn brown.

“The question is, can we cure it consistently (in the Piedmont and Eastern North Carolina) from year to year?”

A particularly dry fall could be problematic, Smith points out, as could a hurricane. Yet Smith adds that an estimated 250 North Carolina growers who haven’t produced burley before are doing so this year.

Smith and Dr. Loren Fisher, Crop Science Extension Specialist, are growing trial plots of burley at agricultural research stations at Reidsville, Rocky Mount, Whiteville and Kinston, looking at factors such as planting and harvest date, sucker control and fertilization. They’re also conducting on-farm tests in Rockingham and Wake counties.

Photo of burley harvesting
To harvest burley tobacco, a machine pulled behind a tractor cuts and notches the plants. Then plants are loaded onto a trailer with a rack on it that is pulled through the fields. (Photo courtesy of Mike Boyette)

Harvest date will be particularly important, Smith points out. A September harvest, when the temperature and humidity begin to change to allow optimum curing, appears best.

Disease may also be a problem. None of the burley varieties grown in the United States is resistant to Granville wilt, but it’s not a problem in burley growing areas. It may, however, be a problem in Piedmont and Eastern North Carolina. Smith says several Brazilian varieties have Granville wilt resistance but are susceptible to black shank.

Allen Broadwell, a research technician in Plant Pathology at N.C. State, is experimenting with fumigating the soil to manage disease, while Dr. David Shew, professor of Plant Pathology, is screening burley varieties for Granville wilt resistance. Blue mold could also be a problem – burley is more susceptible than flue-cured tobacco – and some of the Golden LEAF funding is going to enhance the blue mold forecasting system already in place in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at N.C. State.

Growing burley, at least the way most growers now produce it, is much more labor intensive than growing flue-cured tobacco, and that’s where Dr. Mike Boyette, Philip Morris Professor of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, comes into the picture.

Boyette is working on mechanizing burley harvesting and curing, which is now done by hand. Burley growers now cut the stalk of the plant by hand, then spear the stalk, with leaves still attached, on a 4-foot-long stake with a sharpened point. These stakes are then hung in barns or other structures, and the burley allowed to cure.

“If burley is going to come to Eastern North Carolina, it cannot be put on a stick,” says Boyette. “People aren’t going to work like that.”

Boyette is working to adapt technologies developed at the University of Kentucky, where engineers have made considerable progress toward mechanization. He envisions a system that makes use of a machine he calls a notcher/cutter to harvest burley and racks that allow curing in the field.

A notcher/cutter will cut a tobacco plant at the bottom of the stalk and slice an angled notch in the stalk near the bottom of the plant. Both cuts are made at roughly the same time as the machine moves through a field. The plants are then hung upside down from the angled notch on wire mesh that is stretched across what Boyette calls a curing rack.

The racks are made so that they can be stacked against each other in the field as they fill with burley stalks. The grower then covers the racks with plastic sheeting, and the tobacco cures in the field. Boyette is using a $172,000 grant from Philip Morris USA along with Golden LEAF funding to build notcher/cutters, curing racks and other equipment to move burley from place to place in a field. He’s experimenting with the system this fall.

The gold standard for mechanized burley harvesting is a machine at the University of Kentucky that engineers there call “Big Red.” Big Red is self propelled and cuts, notches and hangs burley stalks without the aid of human hands. Using Big Red, one person can harvest a field of burley, leaving the stalks hanging on racks ready to cure.

There’s only one Big Red, however, and it’s in Kentucky, and Boyette says there’s not time this year to build another one. This year, those growers outside Western North Carolina who are growing burley, will have to do the best they can.

This year will be a learning experience, both for North Carolina tobacco growers and for agricultural researchers.

Says Smith, “There’s a lot riding on this. If it works, we could have 50,000 acres of burley over a period of time.”

--Dave Caldwell

Posted by Natalie at 03:59 PM

Grant will support tree survey

Thanks to a $10,000 grant, Cooperative Extension will help conduct a tree survey of Tanglewood Park in Clemmons. Toby Bost, Forsyth County Cooperative Extension agent, has developed a plan to work with the park’s grounds maintenance staff and the Forsyth offices of Natural Resources Conservation Service and N.C. Division of Forest Resources to introduce ArcView/GIS technology.

The grant was provided by N.C. Division of Forest Resources’ Urban and Community Forest Grant program. Tanglewood Park is a 1,300-acre park, the largest public park in Forsyth County. The park has not had a proactive tree management plan for assessing the condition of its trees, thus ensuring the safety of the thousands of visitors to its facility annually. This was a concern to park staff because of ice storms the park has suffered this decade.

The grant has allowed the partners to hire a consulting forester to design and conduct a tree inventory for the park. Using Global Positioning System instruments, the forester has identified more than 400 trees on a new trail that is being cleared as an environmental classroom for school age children. The park’s staff received training during the winter months and acquired both the software and computer hardware to begin Phase I of a comprehensive park management plan. Both GIS technology and aerial photos currently available to them have allowed the park staff to produce high-quality imagery and maps for improving the park's trail system.

Posted by Natalie at 03:00 PM | Comments (0)

August 25, 2005

Electric Congress

Electric Congress

BUSY DELEGATES –- Each summer, just before 4-H’s annual Congress in Raleigh, the state’s three energy companies host the 4-H Electric Congress in either western, Piedmont or eastern North Carolina. Attendees take home not only awards and other prizes for various energy-related achievements, but information they gain in several workshops, which they’ll share with their home 4-H clubs. Here, at this year's Electric Congress in June at Western Carolina University, 4-H’ers Melissa Corey of Beaufort County and Sam Nzewi of Forsyth County work on their 2005 projects: building a magnetism-driven motor, a basic miniature turbine. (Art Latham Photo)

Posted by Art at 10:25 AM

August 24, 2005

Workshop explores organic grain and oilseed production

Photo of workshop participants
Workshop participants examine different varieties of soybeans (Photos by Daniel Kim)

Nearly 50 farmers, Extension specialists, seed producers and others with ties to agriculture gathered in the fields of the Center for Environmental Farming Systems in Goldsboro last month to learn about organic farming.

The North Carolina Organic Grain Project, created by N.C. State University in 2004 with a grant from the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, hosted a workshop on July 21 to equip farmers with the skills and agronomic support they need to produce organic grain and oilseed crops.

Molly Hamilton, project coordinator and Extension assistant, designed the workshop to inspire farmers to explore and adopt organic crop rotations. According to Hamilton, demand for organic grains for livestock feed and food-grade milling is on the rise, but most North Carolina farmers lack adequate information on organic grain and oilseed production, marketing and certification.

“We want to help farmers meet this demand, but first the education and infrastructure must be in place to enable them to do so,” Hamilton said.

Sponsored by the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service, the workshop featured tours of organic and transitional crops such as corn and hay, cover crops and alternative grain crops, and a soybean variety trial. After serving up box lunches and cold drinks, the research farm’s staff led demonstrations of mechanical weed equipment, describing the pros and cons of each device.

Beth McArthur, who just inherited a 50-acre farm in Laurinburg, came to the workshop to learn more about growing cover crops. Her wheat will be certified organic next year, but she’s struggling to find cover crops that work well.

“I’m not a farmer, so I have to depend on neighbor farmers to do most of the work for me,” McArthur says. “It’s difficult for me – without a background in farming – to give them direction, so I rely on the help of Cooperative Extension.”

For Roseboro dairy farmer Yogi Naida, the story is similar. Her goal is organic cheese production, but she finds it difficult to obtain reasonably-priced organic livestock feed, so she’s considering growing her own. “I just bought a 242-acre piece of land, and I’d like to use it for organic grain or seed production,” she said. “I came today to learn more about how to grow these crops.”

Workshop attendance was higher than Hamilton expected, and the crowd included farmers, landowners, Extension agents and specialists, organic grain buyers, N.C. State faculty and students, employees from the Caswell Research Station and folks from Soil and Water Conservation Districts. Air-conditioned bus rides between tours and coolers of ice-cold water provided welcome relief from the scorching July heat.

Charles Bass Jr., agriculture cost share specialist for the Franklin County Soil and Water Conservation District, and also a 1981 graduate of the N.C. State Agricultural Institute, came to the workshop to gather information for tobacco farmers in his county who are considering growing different crops as a result of the buyout.

He believes organic farming is catching on in North Carolina. “I’m interested in taking information back to the farmers on alternative cover crops for winter time,” he said. “We want to make sure there is something green and growing on our land at all times.”

Photo of sunflowers
Sunflowers are grown at the Center for Environmental Farming Systems as a potential cover crop for organic farming.

After the outdoor segment of the workshop, the crowd moved inside for a talk on organic grain budgets by Dr. Gary Bullen of the N.C. State Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics. Bullen outlined a sample budget for organic grain farming and invited feedback from farmers on their experiences and budget concerns.

The day concluded with a networking session among farmers, extension specialists and organic grain buyers.

“I hope people took from this workshop ideas of how to improve the sustainability of their farms – or to provide information to farmers they work with,” Hamilton said. “I also hope that participants were inspired to consider organic production on their own farms.”

The North Carolina Organic Grain Project plans to offer similar workshops throughout the year, covering topics such as pest management, grain quality for food-grade and organic grain marketing. Tours of organic grain and oilseed farms are slated for early fall.

--Suzanne Stanard

Posted by Suzanne at 02:53 PM

Stewart to receive national FFA honor

Marshall Stewart, program leader and head of the 4-H Youth Development Department at North Carolina State University, has been chosen by the National FFA Organization to receive a special VIP Citation for making significant contributions to agricultural science education. The award, which will be presented in October at the National FFA Convention in Louisville, Ky., is one of the most prestigious awards a person may receive for supporting FFA and its programs.

Stewart, who became head of 4-H July 1, was formerly a faculty member in N.C. State’s Agricultural and Extension Education Department. In that role, he was responsible for overseeing FFA programs in North Carolina. Stewart has served on both the National FFA Board of Directors and the National FFA Foundation Board of Trustees.

Posted by Natalie at 02:07 PM

August 22, 2005

Millstone reunion unites former campers

three ladies sitting
Three veteran 4-H'ers and Millstone campers recall good times at camp. They include Carolyn Smith Ivey, left, Martha Cashion Archer and Lucille Mayes Carter, all of whom were 4-H Honor Club members. (Art Latham photo)

The muggy June day at Millstone 4-H Camp honoring camp benefactors and veterans Fred and Dot Wagoner was filled with fellowship and good food.

And the day ended with the establishment and partial funding of an endowment fund in the Wagoners’ name to help pay for repairs and renovations for the venerable, non-air-conditioned camp in the piney woods east of Ellerbe.

The Wagoners earlier had been the first 4-H Honor Club members to accept the challenge of establishing 4-H Awards Program endowments. They endowed the 4-H Forestry Cumulative Record and annually fund the 4-H Forestry trip to National Congress. In 2004, they added to the endowment to provide for the forestry trip in perpetuity.

The $15,000 Millstone endowment, now funded to $13,194.25 through donations from friends and 4-H “family,” is another first: the first endowment dedicated to renovation and repairs for North Carolina 4-H camps.

Such unique endowments are critically important to 4-H camps’ continued growth and success, since camps receive no other repair and renovation funding, says Sharon Rowland, N.C. 4-H Development Fund executive director.

“This is a great day for our North Carolina 4-H camps,” said Larry Hancock during the alumni day ceremonies. “Not only are we honoring Fred and Dot Wagoner, but we also are laying foundations for significant improvements at the 4-H camps they loved so much.” Hancock holds Fred Wagoner’s original position as state 4-H camping specialist

Speakers during the day’s events included Jim Harrill, son of L.R. Harrill, North Carolina’s first state 4-H leader; George Joyner, former Swannanoa 4-H Camp director; and Carol Ann Tucker, former Mitchell 4-H Camp staffer.

The sticky weather and the weekend’s events pointed out the need for camp renovation. For instance, while everyone seemed to have a fine time, after the steamy day ended with volleyball, basketball and other outdoor sports, camp alums and family trooped indoors to the old wood-floored, screened, but not air-conditioned recreation hall.

A dress from an old pattern and other displays greeted former campers at the silent auction in the old recreation hall, while basketball games continued outside. (Art Latham photo)

There they viewed silent auction items and a camp memorabilia exhibit and danced. They then retired for their second night into the screened, but non-air-conditioned wooden cabins, some in place since 1939.

The Wagoners, as veteran 4-H’ers and 4-H boosters, understand the problems. The couple met at 4-H Club Week, now 4-H Congress.

In 1940, Fred Wagoner, an outstanding 4-H Club member in his native Guilford County, was tapped into the North Carolina 4-H Honor Club, the highest honor then afforded to a club member. He represented 4-H at National 4-H Club Congress and later played football for his alma mater, State College (now North Carolina State University).

Wagoner began 4-H work in 1949 in Edgecombe County and was quickly moved to the state 4-H office. As part of his lifelong passion for 4-H camps, he reopened Mitchell 4-H Camp, and was Millstone’s director while also working with his district’s county agents as a camps specialist.

While an Alamance County 4-H’er, Dot was named State Health Queen and state clothing winner.

“Dot could easily be named the ‘First Lady of 4-H Camping in North Carolina’ for she was never far behind Fred in his camping endeavors,” said Jim Clark, the day’s master of ceremonies and author of Clover All Over, a history of 4-H in North Carolina. “She has always been involved in 4-H Honor Club as a supporting spouse and often assisted with the Collegiate 4-H Club at State College.”

Since Fred’s 1974 retirement, the couple have been growing trees at their Fraser Knoll Christmas Tree Farm in Ashe County.

Editorial disclaimer: The writer admits to attacks of nostalgia connected with Camp Millstone, as he is an alum.

--Art Latham

Posted by Art at 02:46 PM

August 18, 2005

'In the Garden' begins new season

Bryce Lane on the set

Tune in to the season premiere of "In the Garden with Bryce Lane," Saturday, August 20, at noon on UNC-TV. This season, host Bryce Lane of N.C. State's College Agriculture and Life Sciences showcases some of the state's most beautiful gardens. Many of them are created and maintained by North Carolina Cooperative Extension staff and Master Gardeners.

The August 20 episode features the Pitt County Arboretum, the Master Gardener program in Craven County and Tryon Palace. For more information on the Craven County garden, read this article from The New Bern Sun Journal.

Later in the season the North Carolina Arboretum, Rowan County Master
Gardeners, Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden, Richmond Hill Inn, and Wing Haven will be featured. (Notice will be given on the exact dates these shows will air.) This season’s shows will also include a weekly Extension’s Successful Gardener tip.

Beginning August 20, "In the Garden" will air each Saturday at noon and repeat Thursdays at 1:30 p.m. on UNC-TV.

If you have any questions about the show please contact Sonya Williams Harris at Sonya_Harris@ncsu.edu.

Posted by Natalie at 02:09 PM | Comments (0)

Latest news from N.C. A&T State University

Click below for the latest news from N.C. A&T State University.


Posted by Natalie at 02:00 PM | Comments (0)

August 05, 2005

Safety program receives national award

Photo of safety program participants
Two Johnston County farmers, who participated in a 'Be Seen and Be Safe' workshop, look over a program display. (Photo by Becky Kirkland)

Six North Carolina Cooperative Extension agricultural agents and Sgt. Tom Futrell of the State Highway Patrol won national recognition for their “Be Seen and Be Safe” education program to help make farmers on rural roads more visible. The education program was a collaboration between Cooperative Extension and the Highway Patrol.

The group won the national Search for Excellence in Crop Production competition for the National Association of County Agricultural Agents. Those recognized as part of the team were Norman Harrell, Wilson County; Art Bradley, Edgecombe County; Ken Bateman, Johnston County Extension director; Charlie Tyson, Nash County; Louie Johnson, Greene County; and Mitch Smith, Pitt County Extension director.

The agents developed a training program to help farmers make their equipment more visible to motorists. Farmers who participated received a strobe light and other visibility materials for their farm equipment.

In addition, Fred Miller, Catawba County Extension director, was elected national vice president of the organization at the July meeting in Buffalo, N.Y. He is the first North Carolina agent to ever hold the position.

Posted by Natalie at 09:03 AM | Comments (0)

ESP call for nominations

Nominations for the 2005 Epsilon Sigma Phi Awards are due no later than Friday, September 16, 5 p.m. ESP awards will be given at the ESP annual meeting on Friday, November 18, at the Wake County Commons Building. Extension employees are encouraged to nominate deserving co-workers for these awards.

Nominees must be current (2005) members of ESP and have paid their dues by February 1, 2005. Applications are on line at the ESP Web site.

Nominees for the Meritorious Support Award are not required to be ESP members. County staffs applying for County Performance Awards do not have to be ESP members, but it is highly desirable. The Web address for the ESP 2005 awards is: http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/assn/esp/awards/awards2005.html

Use the format provided on the Web and then email the nomination and nominee(s)' photo to cnorden@co.wake.nc.us.
Award nominations will only be accepted in straight text, Microsoft Word or StarOffice writer format -- no html or PDF documents will be accepted.

Nominations must be no more than one page, back and front, and those exceeding the space limitations will not be considered. Margins must be 1 inch, and information presented must be a minimum of 10-point type. Summary statements at the end of nominations must not exceed 75 words. These are all national ESP requirements.

Retirees may send nominations and photographs in hard copies to my attention at Wake County Cooperative Extension Service, 4001-E Carya Drive, Raleigh, NC 27610-2914.

Teams and county staff should send a group photo, not individual ones. Applications will not be considered unless photographs are submitted by the deadline along with the application.

Posted by Natalie at 09:00 AM | Comments (0)

New publications available

Two new publications, one on phosphorus loss assessment and one on mosquito control, are now available.

North Carolina Phosphorus Loss Assessment: Model Description and Scientific Basis and Supporting Literature, TB-323, is now available in print from the Department of Soil Science, Box 7619, N.C. State University, Raleigh, NC, 27695-7619. This technical bulletin was created for distribution to soil scientists and regulatory managers who use the PLAT model. It also available on the Web at http://www.soil.ncsu.edu/nmp/ncnmwg/ncanat/plat/PLAT_Science_behind_the_tool.pdf

Mosquito Control for Stormwater Facilities, AGW-588-4, summarizes some key facts that engineers and designers should consider as they design stormwater facilities and implement mosquito control measures. It also provides an overview of strategies for limiting mosquito populations in stormwater facilities. This publication, which is part of the Urban Waterways series, is only available on the Web at http://www.bae.ncsu.edu/people/faculty/hunt/Mosquitoes.pdf

Posted by Natalie at 08:59 AM | Comments (0)

August 04, 2005

Ivy Reid now heads Jones Cooperative Extension

Ivy Reid has been named director of North Carolina Cooperative Extension programs in Jones County. (New Bern Sun Journal article)

Continue reading 'Reid now heads Jones Cooperative Extension'

Posted by Natalie at 09:26 AM | Comments (0)

Latest news from N.C. A&T State University

The latest news from the School of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences is now available on ag e-dispatch.

Posted by Natalie at 09:20 AM | Comments (0)